Our in-depth guide to London’s Piers continues with Westminster Millennium Pier (following trips to Hampton Court Pier, Tower Millennium Pier, Canary Wharf Pier and Greenwich Pier), one of five new piers that opened in 2000 as part of the Thames 2000 Project. It’s the perfect pier for seeing some of London’s finest landmarks as well as a great location for anyone working near Westminster that’s looking for private or corporate boat hire.
Westminster Millennium Pier is just a few minute’s walk from Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster (home of the UK Parliament), as well as the stunning Westminster Abbey. Cross Westminster Bridge and you will find great attractions too, like the London Eye, London Aquarium and Florence Nightingale Museum. In short, Westminster is a great place for a day out and a spectacular place to see by river. Can you imagine passing Big Ben on one of our historic boats with a cocktail in hand during one of our custom-fit boat parties? It’s one of London’s must-do activities!
History of Westminster
Hard to believe now but the area that is home to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament actually used to be an island cut adrift by the Thames and the River Tyburn. It was here that in the 11th century the first royal palace and abbey were built, and where Westminster’s status as an important area begins. After the River Tyburn was built over and the Thames was embanked the island no longer existed but you can still catch a glimpse of its watery past via some of the street names, Spring Gardens (near Trafalgar Square) and Millbank (which was home to the Abbey’s mill) being great examples of this.
In the 13th century Henry III rebuilt the abbey, officially naming it Westminster Abbey. These days the abbey is still used for important ceremonies as well as being one of London’s most beautiful Gothic structures. It also has a hugely important role in British history. For example, did you know that ever since William The Conqueror was crowned at Westminster Abbey in 1066 every single British monarch has been crowned at the Abbey (well with the exception of two of the Edwards)? It’s the done thing as far as coronation is concerned.
Westminster Palace was originally a royal residence but a fire destroyed the living quarters in 1512 and after that it became solely used by the Parliament. Another fire would destroy the majority of the palace in 1834 and the Houses of Parliament were built to replace it. Still often referred to as the Palace of Westminster, the Houses of Parliament are home to both the House of Lords and the House of Commons, the two bodies responsible for defining law in Britain. Big Ben came along in 1858, taking its name from Sir Benjamin Hall, one of the Chief Commissioners of the works.
What Can You Do In Westminster?
As you can see from Westminster’s history it is one of the best locations for discovering Britain’s royal and parliamentary history, as well as seeing grand palaces and churches from a variety of eras. Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey are all very close to each other, and there’s also St Margaret’s Church, the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms, and the the Boudicca statue that are all worth a visit.
Just a short walk west from Westminster and you will also find Buckingham Palace, home to the Queen (if you didn’t already know) and three of London’s Royal Gardens: Hyde Park, St James Park and Green Park. If you’re in London in August or September you may even be able to visit parts of Buckingham Palace Garden, which are not normally open to the public.
It’s also a great area for art. Head north from Westminster and you will find the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. Head south and you will find one of the city’s finest galleries in the shape of Tate Britain.
Cross over the Westminster Bridge and some of the attractions on the South Bank include the London Eye, London Aquarium, Dali Universe and Florence Nightingale Museum.
Seeing Westminster from the River
Taking a boat trip from Westminster is a great way to see some of the London landmarks already listed. Heading up stream to London Bridge you can also feast your eyes on Cleopatra’s Needle, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tate Modern, South Bank, Millennium Bridge (where that iconic Harry Potter scene was filmed) and Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.
Our Tideway and William B boats both operate from Westminster Millennium Pier and are perfectly poised for any London businesses looking for a corporate boat cruises or anyone looking for private boat hire, a birthday party with a twist or a cruise down the Thames.
If you would like to hire a boat from Westminster Millennium Pier then see our Instant Quote Calculator to find out how much it might cost or simply get in touch with us directly. We’re always happy help.
For a full list of the piers that we operate from please go to our Thames Pier Maps page.